Acne and PCOS: Nine Tips for Clear Skin

Acne and PCOS: Nine Tips for Clear Skin

If you have been suffering from acne since you were a teenager, the problem is probably more than skin deep.  Acne is a common symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS.

Acne can be devastating for our self-image and sometimes makes us feel embarrassed to leave the house at all or certainly without makeup to cover it up. It can have additional serious emotional consequences such as frustration, depression, and social withdrawal. Topical creams often have harsh side effects that may help in the short term but leave us frustrated over and over again with recurring bouts of acne. Whether you are a lifetime acne sufferer or are just experiencing it for the first time, know that there is hope and it is possible to achieve a clear and smooth complexion.

What causes acne?

The areas of your face that are especially affected with acne with PCOS are the lower half of the face such as the cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck.   Inflammation and hormone imbalance are the big causes but there is also a bacteria called Propionibacterium that can cause an immune response resulting in acne. Here is a short list of causes:

  • Insulin resistance (too much sugar in diet) – this can cause higher-than-normal male androgen levels
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Bacteria along with inflammation in the body
  • Too much inflammation in general


Natural Ways to Treat PCOS-Related Acne – On the Inside

Clear up your acne by changing the food you eat. Food is powerful medicine for healing and chances are that the problem is more about what goes into your body than what you put on your skin.  Reducing inflammation is key. Be patient and give it some time, at least 3 months, to see some lasting change.

  1. Adopt a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains such as barley, spelt, oats (the non-gluten free oats), and rye. A PubMed study shows that taking gluten out of the diet reduces inflammation and insulin resistance, the two biggest causes of acne. Does it seem impossible to remove gluten and wheat from your diet? We women love our bread, but it is possible to make substitutions that are both delicious and healthy for women with PCOS.
  1. Remove sugar and high glycemic carbohyrates (carbs) from your diet. Sugar is another dietary culprit responsible for causing acne due to its effect on blood sugar and a rise in male hormones. Studies show that diets high in sugar and high glycemic carbs, such as pasta, bread, cereal, sodas, no fat yogurt with sugar, fruit juice and even fruit, caused an increase in acne.  If you have PCOS, studies have shown that when you eliminate sugar and reduce your intake of high glycemic carbs, your acne will start to improve.
  1. Switch out the dairy products. Dairy causes your body to increase the production of male hormones like testosterone and other androgens. It also is known to increase insulin. Every glass of milk contains the same kind of anabolic hormones that athletes use to grow their muscles. Do not be fooled with labels that say “hormone free” milk, because even organic and raw milk contain at least 60 hormones.  In controlled trials, researchers discovered that drinking cow’s milk caused an incre